Elf (2003) – Originally written November 2003
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILERS (but then, it was always going to be predictable!)
So it’s Christmas time again, and as per usual, in amongst the “Lord Of The Rings” and the other big blockbusters, there’s the occasional Christmas fairytale. This year’s offering is “Elf” staring Will Ferrell, a film which is really exactly what should be expected.
In “Elf” Ferrell plays Buddy, a baby who one Christmas crawls into Santa’s sleigh, and is then raised by Elves as their own. Thirty years later and Buddy finally realises that he’s different to everyone else (despite being double their size of course). So with this in mind, Buddy heads off towards New York looking for his biological father (James Caan). Whilst there, Buddy influences everyone around him, and eventually revives the Christmas spirit.
So what can actually be said about “Elf”? Well, first and foremost, someone on here wrote that this film will be shown every Christmas for years to come. That person is spot on. “Elf” is forever going to be shown along with a selection of films (“Jingle All The Way”, etc) over Christmas at times when adults will want to sleep and children will want to be distracted. Secondly, it’s worth stating that this film isn’t as bad as some people might expect. If you expect cheese and you expect that weak plotted family film, your probably spot on. The special effects are simplistic when used, and the plot might be as weak as previously mentioned, but all in all, what would you expect from a film about an oversized elf?
I guess it’s hard to say too much about Farrell as I must admit to being a newcomer to his humour. He does what seems an acceptable job, and he cracks the occasional hilarious line. What seems ironic though is that some of the funniest lines are actually designed for adults and spoken by James Caan. Right now I can imagine people reading this review thinking “what the hell is he on about?”, well all I can suggest is to listen more carefully. There is, I admit they’re rare, the occasional really funny comment made in this film which, as a result of it being a childs film, probably won’t be noticed in a cinema full of children. These comments aren’t particularly hidden, but they are throw away comments which aren’t fussed over.
To summarise, “Elf” was never going to be anything special. It was always going to be a typical Christmas story, designed primarily for children, but with the occasional throw away adult line. With this definition in line, “Elf” fulfills it’s pledge. It doesn’t look though like the type of film which would really make too much money (In England anyway, it’s run has coincided not only with the final “Lord Of The Rings” film, but also with the far more appealing live action version of “Peter Pan”). This film is in the end of the day, definately one for television.